THE Community and Voluntary award at this year’s Cork Environmental Forum Awards was presented to Rory Jackson the founder of the Oceans Plastic Project.
The project was nominated by Schull Community College science teacher Kay Quinn who was full of praise for its highly progressive educational programme.
The charity researches microplastics in the waters off West Cork, as well as working to raise awareness of plastic pollution generally.
Rory’s organisation works with local secondary schools to host clean-up days, but also to use their research to lobby local
government and industry to put a stop to pollution.
Bernie Connolly, development co-ordinator with the Cork Environmental Forum said the awards scheme was organised as ‘a tribute to the people taking positive action.’
She said they honoured the effort, the long-term commitment and the work being done across a variety of projects from the recording of birds, to tacking plastic in our ocean, energy efficiency in business, providing parks that deliver multi-functional public space to circular social enterprises.
Mrs Quinn spoke of her own love of the ocean and how wonderful it is for their school and five other West Cork schools to be able to engage in such a hands-on way with Oceans Plastic Project.
She said the students get to visit local beaches, pick up the litter, and log it so they can learn about marine waste, pollution and gain a better understanding of coastal biodiversity and marine life.
The school has also benefited from a repurposed fibre glass boat that is now a table and chairs.
Rory, in his acceptance speech, highlighted the importance the ocean has played in his own life. Through this project, he said he is able to engender care and protection in the younger generation.
Meanwhile, Katie Mann on behalf of Cycle Sense, which is based in Skibbereen, was presented with the Circular Economy category award.
Cycle Sense evolved from a cycle training initiative into a fully-fledged social enterprise, which focuses on reuse. It helps reduce the need for raw materials, by reclaiming discarded products and giving them an extended life through repair and repurposing that includes bicycles, paint and an evolving food area.
Jerry Murray, City View Wheels and award sponsors presented the award commenting on how important active travel has become again and the transitions being made in all businesses.